Evangelism Partnership Unites South Sound Members
It almost didn’t happen. A couple years ago, Washington Conference and Voice of Prophecy began discussing a regionwide evangelism partnership.
One of the prequalifying factors? A venue that could hold a specific capacity had to be solely booked for an entire month and have auxiliary rooms available. All 25 venues contacted in the Seattle area were already booked, too expensive or not interested.
“We began to pray even more,” says Tyler Long, Washington Conference evangelism coordinator. “Then one day I received a call from the Washington State Fairgrounds, who told me about a new venue called the Agriplex. They invited me to come and see it.”
When Long arrived in Puyallup, Wash., all he saw was an empty lot and a set of blueprints. Yet the plans and the fairground venue met every criteria. With reassurance of timely completion, Washington Conference signed the Agriplex's first contract. “Our church has the record for renting the most consecutive days in the fairground’s history," says Long.
While the builders did their job, a network of volunteers mobilized to join prayer teams, sign up for ministry training, offer Bible studies and prepare for supporting Revelation Speaks Peace seminar roles.
Just over 322,000 postcards offering Bible studies landed in South Sound mailboxes in September 2016. The newly trained Bible instructors picked up their returned postcards and knocked on 2,000 doors or sent follow-up letters to respond with the first of a series of Bible studies. Some people were eager to begin, others were hesitant, and still others changed their minds.
One lady — Jeannie Ramsdell — angrily said “no” four times by text message or in person before finally agreeing to Bible studies. (To see how this story started, look in the February 2017 Gleaner issue). Not only did she complete the Bible studies, she also found her diploma from the first time she participated in Discover Bible School 10 years earlier. Her Bible instructor, Carrie Stitt, drove her and three neighbors each night to the In Search of Meaning archaeology seminar and to Revelation Speaks Peace. Ramsdell and Stitt were baptized together on the final day of Revelation Speaks Peace.
Meanwhile, the pastoral and volunteer teams kept praying and planning. The venue — a modern barn-style building — was transformed into a carpeted seminar hall. (Attend camp meeting in person or via livestream to hear miracle stories.)
Opening night and the remaining five nights a week for the next month, 300 volunteers showed up to help with greeting and befriending 1,600 guests, running a Bible school (with 200 participants), leading a children’s program (for more than 100 kids on weekends), feeding volunteers, providing guest services, and translating presentations into multiple languages.
“It was fun working together as a team,” says Doug Bing, Washington Conference president. “Together we watched many of our new friends be baptized, and we anticipate more baptisms as our friends continue to study. We all hold special memories of partnering with God to reach our community.”